The City of Nelson will receive $2,613,000 from the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement designed to support facility re-openings and local emergency response in the pandemic. The Regional District of Central Kootenay will receive $760,000 from the fund.
The funding was announced in a news release from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) on Nov. 5.
Nelson’s city manager Kevin Cormack told the Nelson Star in an email, “This funding can be used over the next few years to cover facility reopenings, emergency planning costs, bylaw enforcement costs, computer and electronic technology, services for vulnerable populations, and for funding shortfalls we have experienced such as transit, parking meter revenue, etc.”
He said the city still needs to work out the details of how the funds will be used.
RDCK CAO Stuart Horn told the Nelson Star that, pending board approval, the money will cover the purchase of personal protective equipment for staff in fire service, recreation, transfer station and recycling; signage; medical guidance; technology to support working at home; and compensating for loss of revenue at some services during the pandemic.
“I am very pleased to see the speed at which the federal and provincial governments have delivered this funding to local governments in B.C.,” said UBCM president Brian Frenkel in the news release.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, local governments have taken steps to manage costs and rethink budgets, but communities are contending with significant revenue shortfalls,” he wrote. “These funds will be available for immediate use and provide greater clarity as budgets are developed for the coming year.”
The City of Castlegar received $2.2 million from the program and the Town of Creston $1.65 million.
The Safe Restart program will be giving additional funding at a later date to local governments including $100 million to address the needs of vulnerable populations and $15 million to improve development approval processes.